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Karl Vogel


Centurion, 1914–1969

Full Name Karl Max Vogel

Born 1 February 1877 in New Orleans, Louisiana

Died 8 January 1969 in Troy, New York

Proposed by W. G. MacCallum and Samuel W. Lambert

Elected 6 June 1914 at age thirty-seven

Archivist’s Note: Recipient of the Century Medal in 1967

Century Memorial

Karl Vogel, factus homo, was slight of build and possessed of a magnanimous, gentle, and kindly spirit. In 1967 he was the sixth recipient of The Century Medal “for distinguished service to the Association”; the citation states succinctly his eminent qualifications for this award:

“Member of the Association for more than fifty years. Physician, teacher, scholar, linguist, bibliophile, philosopher, maker of ship-models and watches; craftsman par excellence. His accomplishments, so many and so varied, fill us with awe and admiration. A man of humility, of great gentleness of spirit and of deep human understanding, the best of company, he has endeared himself to many generations of Centurions. During his long period of membership he has given freely of his time and talents to our affairs and, by being what he is, he has enriched The Century beyond measure.”

Karl Vogel was born in New Orleans on November 17 [sic], 1877. He graduated from the Norwalk Military Academy; subsequently, he took the entrance examinations for Yale University, but his eyes failed him and he was forced to discontinue his studies for several years. Then he entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, from which he graduated with honors in 1900. Following internships, first at St. Luke’s Hospital and later at the Sloane Maternity Hospital, he pursued postgraduate work throughout the fall and winter of 1908–9 in Munich, followed by clinical work in Vienna.

At the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Vogel served continuously as a member of the faculty from the time of his appointment as an assistant in pathology in 1903 until his retirement as associate clinical professor of medicine in 1946. From 1918 to 1950 he also served as consulting physician to the Home for Incurables, now St. Barnabas Hospital.

Sailing on the Lusitania early in 1914, Dr. Vogel went to France, where he aided in organizing and subsequently conducting Hospital B of the American Ambulance at Juilly-sur-Marne. There he remained for a year when he was commissioned a captain in the Medical Corps, U.S. Army. He returned to New York to become a member of the advisory board at St. Luke’s Hospital.

At age sixty-five, Dr. Vogel served, during World War H, as a member of the Medical Board of the War Price and Rationing Board and carried out special studies related to medicine for the Department of Defense; for these services he received a letter of commendation.

Throughout his medical career, in addition to teaching and his duties at St. Luke’s Hospital, Dr. Vogel contributed extensively to medical literature, especially in areas related to diseases of the blood, metabolism, and diagnostic methods. His publications were extensive throughout the years of his practice, including several books. One little volume entitled What Is Time? recorded an address he made before The Century Association; in a measure this indicates the great breadth of his knowledge and interests.

Dr. Vogel traveled widely. He made a dozen or more trips to Europe, spent lengthy sojourns in the West Indies, went on trips by horseback in the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest, and on fishing trips to northern Canada. In 1921–22 he accompanied Arthur Curtiss James, as ship’s surgeon, on an eight-months circumnavigation of the earth on the ship Aloha. He wrote a book about the trip entitled Aloha Around the World. He followed this trip by another on the Aloha to the Mediterranean in 1925.

The versatility of this beloved Centurion has no equal: photographer, inventor, nautical historian, maker of ship models, watchmaker and collector of ancient and modern watches, collector of books dealing with the sea and ships. These were but a few areas of his interest.

A list of Dr. Vogel’s membership in clubs and societies would cover several pages. Suffice it to state that, in addition to medical groups and associations, he was at different times a member of three golf clubs, an athletic club, a tennis club, and the Fencer’s Club! His interest in art is attested by his membership in the Metropolitan Museum of Art; in horology, by membership in the British Horological Institute; and in naval history, by membership in the Naval History Society. He spoke both French and German with facility, claimed to speak more fluent Italian than Spanish, and admitted to a “nodding acquaintance with Latin.” One of his friends wrote: “Each of us is richer for his having been among us.”

Gilmore David Clarke
1973 Century Association Yearbook